The “Africa Is Not a Country” curriculum lessons have been developed and continually used over a period of several years since 1979 through the World Affairs Council of Oregon education program by Grace Kuto who was then an international student at Portland State University.
After Harambee Centre was co-founded by Grace and Jackie Goldrick in 2001, the curriculum was then piloted at Woodlawn elementary school in Portland, Oregon for a period of 6 months from January 2003 to June 2003 for one 2nd grade class. It was classroom evaluated by Tom McKenna, the then Portland School District Social Studies Coordinator. It was so successful that the school asked us to do a whole year during the following school year (2003-2004) for three 2nd grade classes. Both periods were funded through a grant by Black United Fund of Oregon and partly by Portland School District Social Studies Department.
This curriculum is not designed to replace the required study materials for the global and/or social study units but to enrich and bring alive these materials in a classroom setting while strengthening reading, writing, math and analytical skills for students. The curriculum is also specifically designed to introduce students to the people and cultures of Africa through African art, people, music, geography, history, books, visual materials etc….It places emphasis on simple and hands-on learning experiences that make learning about Africa more fun, positive, relevant and memorable for students to cultivate their interest in further and more comprehensive lessons or experiences on Africa. This model is also used during African cultural celebrations or festive settings during which communities can learn about Africa.
Simplicity of curriculum delivery is emphasized so that teachers are not overwhelmed about incorporating these lessons in their regular teaching practice. Based on reading materials, experiences of native African residents and students in USA, returned Peace Corp volunteers from Africa, African festivals and celebrations, Grace helps teachers develop lesson plans adaptable to various classroom subjects and experiences for a wide range of grade levels (K-12) with an emphasis on (but not limited to) elementary and middle school. Grace does numerous presentations for universities around the country.
To learn more about the “Africa Is Not a Country” Curriculum, please contact Grace Kuto directly.